When you think about online gaming, poker isn’t the first thing to come to mind. That’s not surprising, as it’s a far cry from the adrenaline-fueled bouts of CS: GO battled out far into the wee hours of the morning. But poker does deserve to have its place in the online gaming hall of fame. Not only does it provide an entertaining pastime by itself, but it can also help you become a better player in all your other multiplayer ventures.
Poker Instills Teamwork-Oriented Values
Online multiplayer gaming takes a different skill set than popular single-player games or single-player modes. According to an article published on the popular online science journal Phys.org, the way that teamers think is different — it’s the social aspect of the game that is crucial to them. Many players flock to online gaming not only to experience the thrill of the chase but for interaction and camaraderie as well.
It’s no secret that this social aspect of gaming with an online team can help you out in the real world. Communication between players must be quick and efficient, and problem-solving must happen in seconds. Each player must connect mentally to the others, seeing the screen from the other teammates’ point of views and incorporating the rest of the team into every decision made in the game.
Caption: Gaming is a team sport. Often, users may not be able to see each other, but they still must rely on each other to make critical decisions regarding the game.
Poker is pretty much a solo sport. So, how can it help to instill these teamwork-oriented values? It’s true that online poker doesn’t foster the same ride-or-die mentality that many online games do, but it does provide a way for people to connect, share insights and socialize via poker rooms and gaming chatrooms. More than that, it provides a crucial learning opportunity.
Players, once connected, may debate strategy, skill sets, requirements, bets, hands and all manner of aspects of the game. These sessions might occur in the form of friendly discussion or heated debate, but the fact remains of a common platform in which players can learn from each other, solving problems as a group. Entering into a platform like this allows you to become more adept at sharing ideas, taking constructive criticism and opening yourself up to other people, all of which will come in handy when you pick up your controller.
Learning Strategy and Honing Intuition
It’s well-known that poker is a game of skill and strategy. But so is every other online game out there. In fact, many people play for the express purpose of developing strategy skills. And while poker is different, how you learn and play in a poker room translates to how you play online multiplayer games with your friends afterward as well as instill crucial lessons transferable to everyday life.
Caption: Professional poker player Liv Boeree talks about how critical thinking skills gleaned from playing poker can transfer over into everyday life.
To become a better poker player, you need to learn about strategy. In fact, as you learn the basics of the game, you won’t be able to help learn about strategy. Just like with any game, it’s intrinsic. That’s why games are fun — they make you think. And just like in poker, it requires a decent amount of strategic and critical-thinking skills to play your video games. To accomplish this, you need to figure out how best to approach a situation, how to act instantaneously and without hesitation, and how best to salvage a situation without losing your cool if and when it does go wrong.
Playing poker online can perhaps be even more useful to gamers than playing offline because it helps to hone intuition, which transfers in an online setting. Since you cannot see your on-screen opponent, you cannot read their face and determine from their expressions, tics or any other action what they’re going to do next. That means you need to deduce from their past actions and your intuition what your opponent will do and take preemptive action to turn this into your favor. The same is true for video games.
Caption: Online poker players get to hide behind the safety of an anonymous screen. You can’t see their faces or read tells, making intuition paramount to success.
It turns out that playing online poker can instill several transferable skills, not only limited to social and intrapersonal. These include analyzing, strategizing, critical thinking, mathematics, problem-solving and self-control. Every single one of these skills can help you become a better multiplayer gamer as well. From keeping score to thinking quickly to making snap decisions and deductions, poker and video games are related in ways which perfectly complement each other.
Choosing Your Game and Getting Started
If you want to play poker as a way to develop your online gaming skills, keep in mind that not all games are equal. There are many variations of poker, with Omaha, Stud and Hold ‘em among the most popular. Texas Hold ‘em is the most well-known and one of the best for learning strategies and developing a gaming-oriented skill set. That’s because it is generally quite easy to learn, yet still, attracts players from all over the world who possess a wide variety of skill levels and competitive edge — which means once you get good at it, you won’t have to find a new game. You’ll only have to engage better players.
Texas Hold ‘em might be one of the best poker games you can play to hone your skills, but you don’t want to go in blind. In other words, if you haven’t played before, you need to brush up on the basic Texas Hold ‘em rules and strategies before entering a tournament or a simple cash game. However, this is nothing fear. This variation is relatively simple to play, which makes it accessible to any gamer hoping to fine-tune any skill they may lack in their multiplayer games.
Caption: If you don’t know how to play Texas Hold ‘em, this chart can help you figure out how it’s done or how it’s different from the variation you know.
If you do want to try out online poker, make sure to pick a reputable venue to host your fun. Always go with a legal site licensed and regulated to ensure that you learn the skills you want to learn and not get taken for your money.
Once you do find a room to play in, consider the fact that an online poker game is quite different from the multiplayer games you may be familiar. It is not a free-for-all, and you must observe the rules of etiquette. So, that means no cursing, berating, belittling or rambunctious behavior of any sort while playing online poker. Players here can be quite serious, and many consider this to be their art form. Some of them even make a living from it, and not comporting yourself with respect can lead to removal from the room. Remember, this is a friendly and fun game. So, there is no need to stress or lash out at other players.
If you want to become a better online gamer, learn how to engage with your team and discover how to strategize like a boss, online poker could be the solution. It can’t hurt to try out new things. After all, new input may activate a part of your brain that remained dormant, allowing you to thrive with new skills and beat that final boss. So, why wait? Hit up the online poker rooms today.